Here are some interesting articles I found from various sources.
I have known about Funambol for a while and it seems to be a very promising solution for the purpose of syncing data across diverse mobile platforms. Somehow I never really got down to use it in one of my projects so far. I have decided to check this solution in a test project in my spare time and get a feel of the overall solution myself. It has the correct vision of connecting everything ‘mobile’ via the cloud and I think this product has got a very promising future. I firmly believe that the future is a combination of mobile and cloud. A robust and diverse ecosystem of app driven mobile development market is going to be much larger than the traditional web and enterprise development.
RIM’s Blackberry platform has proven the effectiveness of a good sync engine for syncing up user data like emails, contacts and calendars. Given the fact that it has a tremendous user base and fan following in the business culture also proves that it is highly effective for organizations who find it mandatory to at the cutting edge of all information related to the projects, finance and other important aspects of it business. Now it is clear that RIM has poured millions in the research and development of the Blackberry platform to make it stable and robust and hence it is known for its resilience. However what is the option for other developers who need the similar kind of sync engine for their development needs. Do they have to re-invent the wheel at all times to get the job done or there is some pre-built commercial and free libraries which can be used by them. I thing there is a genuine requirement in the market for coming up with a solution which will enable application developers and especially mobile developers to leverage the benefits of these libraries. I can definitely dare to imagine the flood of which will be possible if reliable sync engine is made available to the developers for every known platform. For example if there is a sync engine which lets the user sync data across iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Symbian and the Desktop platform then a developer can develop applications based on this sync engine to develop games, productivity app, media sync etc. A heavy duty multi platform agnostic sync engine is the need for the day for the development community. I personally would like to develop applications on it if such a library is available and does heavy duty platform agnostic sync.
Apple’s decision to ban charitable donations via app has taken away a good donation source medium from the various non profit organizations around the world. I have come across websites and posts where people have been blasting Apple for it’s decision to ban charitable donation driven applications from being hosted on it’s app store. I think Apple will continue to receive flak for this decision for some time to come. However if I were to look at it from Apple’s perspective I think that they don’t want to take 30% cut from money which is meant for donations and most importantly they might not want to be involved in verification of the legal validity of the charity funded non profits. These considerations might have prompted this ban. Whatever be the reason and motive behind Apple’s decision to ban donation apps, a lot of non profits around the globe will be very unhappy with this decision.
For developers the approach would be to create an application which tells the user about the non profit organization and their motto in a well designed compelling interface. The iOS application will give the concerned non profit organization a much needed foot hold in the iOS app store. Once the user has come to know about the organization the app should give user an option to easily hop on to the website of the organization and do the relevant donation. Basically the good part is that the website of the non profit would receive a lot of traffic in this way and the website can further give user more updated details about how the donated money is going to be used. However the bad part is that the user has to manually enter their details like credit card / paypal information into the organization’s website. This approach might turn away some users as they might balk at entering all these information into the organization’s website but users who are convinced about the motto of the non-profit organization, they won’t mind going an extra step to do the donation.
All said and done technology should be the enabler and iOS eco system could definitely be that enabler for donation based apps owing to their ubiquity in the higher income strata of world population. I personally think that Apple could take a special initiative to cater to this category of apps.
I had applied for the yearly renewal of my iOS developer program for which my company had registered last year. Since there is no iTunes App Store in India I had to apply in the old fashioned way i.e. take a print out of the purchase PDF form, fill it up and then FAX it to Apple. Last year this approach had taken nearly 1 month of time and I was expecting that at the time of renewal I would have to go through the same loop all over again. After sending the FAX I waited for nearly a week with no response from Apple in any form. Fearing that my FAX’d purchase form might have been misplaced I sent a mail to Apple’s customer support. In the back of my mind I had envisioned that it would take Apple’s customer support another week or so to give me a response back. But I was pleasantly surprised when I received a response within 24 hours from them. They asked me send me a scanned copy of my purchase form and they assured me that they would do the rest. I sent them a scanned copy and within 48 hours my iOS developer program membership stood renewed!
I think this was a very good experience with the Apple’s customer support. With this kind of fast response I think my company will keep developing applications for the iOS platform for quite some time to come. Way to go Apple!
It has been quite some time since I last pointed out the problems in the Blackberry Developer program. Since then a lot has changed and I feel that RIM is making serious effort to make Blackberry development lot more attractive to the developers. I will point out the following two incidences:
Instance 1: I released updates of two more blackberry programs and guess what RIM didn’t charge a single credit for that. This means that the cap of charging credit even for minor or major update to a program has been removed. At first I couldn’t believe it and had to cross check but finally had to digest the fact that RIM has finally done what all of us have been asking for long. So if you release updates of your existing program RIM won’t charge credit for that.
Instance 2: RIM waived off the developer fees required to signup for the Blackberry Development Program. This might be a temporary window of opportunity but this definitely means that RIM is very much interested in getting as many developer as possible on its App Store eco system. I am sure this will go long way in ensuring that more developers get involved in developing applications for the Blackberry App Store.
With the recent synergy being demonstrated by RIM I am sure we will see a flurry of new apps on the Blackberry App Store. Way to go RIM!
I recently uploaded an application to the Blackberry Appworld through the Blackberry ISV portal and the feeling has been mixed with the experience I had.
The first thought that came to my mind is that the process is a bit expensive and takes quite a while. First you need to make a 200$ investment for getting the relevant credential for the ISV portal which by default gives you “only” 10 credits to upload application to the app world. So basically for every application submission attempt you do you are charged 20$ / 1 credit. I also found out that if I try to update the application which I just uploaded into the Blackberry ISV portal I am again charged 1 credit / 20$. If you run out of credit you got to spend 200$ more for additional 10 credits.
So you see after uploading my application for the first time I found out that I had to make a textual change (just rework a String displayed in the application) and I had to upload the application couple of hours after I uploaded the original app into the Blackberry ISV portal. Well I must say that I wasted 20$ because Blackberry ISV portal doesn’t give a damn if you made one line change or 1000 line code change; an update is an update and you got to pay!
I am not surprised that Blackberry Appworld right now has under 10,000 applications only. A hobby programmer won’t spend 20$ to maintain an application frequently (20$ to upload, then 20$ for 1st update and so on and on and on). However one thing is for sure that if anybody intends to write an application for app world then they got to be very careful that they get it right the very first time in terms of quality and stability. In a way this can prevent people from uploading junk applications into the app world but I have my reservations about this.
The good thing is the application got finally approved after nearly 10 days of review time by RIM and it is up and available for download in the app world.
If anybody from RIM is reading this; please make the application upload process less expensive and less time consuming. Allow a healthy developer ecosystem to flourish which is inexpensive and encourages developers to develop and update applications. There are loads of money to be made if you have 200,000 applications targeting your handset and that itself becomes a big selling point. Milking developers ‘too much’ for developing and updating applications doesn’t make sense as these are the people who give you this kind of edge!
After years of development on J2ME I finally decided that it was time to gain good expertise on iPhone and boy it is a revelation for someone like me who has worked around the sandbox model of J2ME for years. The amount of API I can access and use is simply mind blowing. I will post my insights and ideas about this wonderful platform in this blog.